BEVERLY HILLS, March 23, (THEWILL) – A Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State has thrown out an attempt to bar it from hearing the money laundering charge brought against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), ruling that it indeed has jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
In his ruling today, Justice M.G. Umar said the matter before the court was not an election petition but about money-laundering, which the Federal High Court had exclusive jurisdiction over and therefore dismissed the application.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu was the All Progressives Congress Party (APC) Governorship Candidate in the 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo.
The other defendants are: Lucky Imasuen, former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, former PDP Chairman in Edo State; Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
The defendants were alleged to have sometime in March 2015 in Benin City directly taken possession of the sum of N700 million without any contract award and the sum was allegedly part of proceeds of an unlawful act.
However, Charles Edosomwan, counsel to Pastor Ize-Iyamu had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter on the grounds that the charges were based on an election matter.
He argued that the appropriate court to try electoral matters was the Magistrate or High Court of the state.
He berated the defendants for filing the motion that, he said, was intended to waste the time of the court.
Umar adjourned the case till May 18, 2021 for further hearing.